A Pretty Mouth by Molly Tanzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Pretty Mouth contains the tales of multiple generations of the Calapash family.
My first exposure to Molly Tanzer was Vermilion. When I learned Colleen Danzig from I Am Providence was based on her, I figured I was due to give her another look.
A Pretty Mouth is really fucked up but in the best possible ways. I was hooked from the opening story. Speaking of which, Bertie Wooster loses a bet and Jeeves has to help one of Bertie's friends, Lord Calapash, with his bathtub-bound sister, who is addicted to the secretions of a bizarre octopus. From there, the weirdness train rolls backwards, exploring the various members of the Calapash clan throughout history, all the way back to the beginning of the line in ancient Rome.
Each story is written in a different style, from the Wodehousian language of the first story, to Bronte, on down the line. The stories all have a Lovecraftian undercurrent, with the Calapash's being known for their look, not unlike the Innsmouth look. There's sex, incest, twincest, murder, sorcery, Lovecraftian horror and lots of crazy ass shit.
The homages to various Lovecraft tales were well done and didn't feel like Lovecraft pastiches alone. Molly Tanzer put her personal touch on each tale, writing in a variety of styles, bringing a freshness to the Lovecraftian subgenre.
A Pretty Mouth hit the sweet spot for me. About the only negative thing I can say about it is that I wish it was twice as long. Four out of five stars.
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